Toronto Star

Rating the designers at Toronto fashion week

Though the harsh Canadian winter has yet to unleash its wrath, top Canadian fashion designers previewed their spring collections in the big white tents at Nathan Phillips Square this week. From glamorous Rita Hayworth dresses to African-inspired prints - the visions were many and varied.

Greta Constantine 3 1/2 stars 

It's a dilemma that designers with new labels face the world over. How do you deliver new, fresh and exciting collections each season, while building a signature look? This seems to be the crossroads that designers Stephen Wong and Kirk Pickersgill arrived at when they presented their Greta Constantine label last week at Circa nightclub.

While using their signature jersey to fluid and transcending effect – their workmanship of this tricky material is superb – the collection felt and looked a bit like their fall offerings. And Dandi Maestre's magnificent necklaces, bangles and bags overshadowed the spare linear clothes. Thankfully, the designers reined it in for the finale, where they sent out six gorgeous goddess gowns in luscious tropical colours. Without a single distracting accessory, it showed pure, stellar craftsmanship.

Now they just have to solve the conundrum of how to harness their tremendous talent and move it forward next season.

Derick Chetty